The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.
William K. Fraser was a soldier in the 151st Field Artillery Regiment. In this entry he describes his visit to a vacant town that had been fired on by trench mortars, which were large caliber weapons similar to cannons that left destruction similar to an aerial attack. He describes the shells and shrapnel found at the site and how he took some of the it home with him. Shrapnel was a common souvenir brought back by soldiers.
January 6, '18
Up at 6am. Stayed in camp in morning after dinner went out on gun park. Saw a town vacant, that a trench mortar had fired on, Some site. Trench mortar shells like a aviation bomb. Has wings on. About 8in. shell. After viewing town went on range picked up some shrapnel and pieces of high explosives. Weather rather cool. Walked back at good speed, had fine apetite [sic] for supper. bed 7.30 was raining.
Citation: William K. Fraser Papers, 1917-1919, 1944. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul Minnesota. P1943
This poster was produced to promote the Patriotic Food Show, put on by the State Council of Defense. The poster boasts the slogan "What to Eat and How to Cook It." Propaganda like this was very common and it was deemed patriotic to change ones diet in order to support the war effort. Individuals and families were advised to eat less meat and use less sugar so that more food could be sent to soldiers overseas. Because of the more limited diet, new foods and recipies were developed to keep meals from becoming boring. Eating 'patriotically' was seen as one of the best ways to support the war on the homefront.
There was a time in the early 2000s when subjects we think of as everyday or mundane received their own study and subsequent book. Salt, dust, cod, and walking are just a few examples that come to mind.
This is a perfect addition to that group. Published by MNHS and in our Library Collection, it details the story of frozen wastelands, visionary explorers, shimmering castles, and more. Cultural historian Karal Ann Marling weaves together fantastic and fascinating topics related to “hard, cold water.”
In a letter to Senator Knute Nelson, The Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Paul called for him to support several moral measures they believed to be important. They asked him to support the prohibition of alcohol, censorship of motion pictures, a ban on inter-state race gambling, and an anti-polygamy resolution. These measures would not just impact Minnesota, but all of "the States and Territories." It is signed by the church pastor, but was compiled by the entire congregation. During this time, many conservative groups had a growing feeling of fear that the nation was descending into immorality, which forshadows the coming prohibition.
Senator Knute Nelson,
Dear Mr. Nelson:-
As loyal and patriotic American citizens, we, the members and friends of Knox Presbyterian Church, do most respectfully, yet empathetically, request your hearty and active support of certain moral measures in this session of Congress and as early in the session as possible - measures that are important at any time to the highest welfare of the nation, but which are many fold more so in this time of crisis.
First: Effective War Prohibition of the liquor Traffic in this country and its dependecies, and a strong request of our Allies to follow suit.
Second: A thorough investigation of the alleged nation-wide boycott system by the brewers.
Third: An amendment to the "bone-dry law" making it apply to the District of Columbia, as well as to the States and Territories.
Fourth: A law to privide deferal censorship of motion pictures by a competent federal commission.
Fifth: A law to supress inter-state race gambling.
Sixth: The Gillett anti-polygamy amendment resolution.
We thank you for your past stand in favor of moral measures and feel sure that you will be glad to be active in favor of the above and other needed motives of patriotism and conservation. We wish to assure you of our support in your efforts along this line, and shall be pleased to have you suggest to us ways of co-operation. In lieu of individual signatures we are asking our Pastor and Clerk to sign this letter for us.
Knox Presbyterian Church & Congregation
Citation: Knute Nelson Papers, 1861-1924, Minnesota Historical Society. 144.I.13.2F Box 27
"Rush Troops to Europe, Say U.S. Delegates" and "Italian Soldiers Win First Victory of Year, Defeating Invaders" - The Duluth Herald. January 2, 1918
A paper 1918 calendar that reads, "GERMAN CRIMES CALENDAR" across the top. It consists of six pages, with a calendar for the months of January through June on the front of each page, and July through December on the back. Each page also features an image and a description of crimes committed by the German Army. There are two holes in the tops of the pages with pieces of string tied through to hold the pages together. This calendar is a prime exampe of the anti-German sentiment that was rampant during WWI in America. Individuals were very distrustful of their German neighbors, and prejudice was at an all time high. Items like this were not uncommon, and were not seen as offensive during this time period.
Citation: Minnesota Historical Society Collections. 12WM.90